Santa Ana winds are here and many patients are suffering from colds and allergies.  In this issue we are  highlighting foods that hinder or help with seasonal allergies.  

My patients suffering with allergies, sinusitis, colds and flus have heard me say, "NO MORE DAIRY".  But, WHY? Isn't milk supposed to be good for you?
Dairy today: pasteurized & enzyme stripped, containing trace hormones and antibiotics from cattle raised in factories, not fields. It  is not like the dairy we had years ago.
Dairy before: raw, grass fed, full of enzymes and immune building antibodies, raised with sunlight and human connection.  MORE...
Who suffers from seasonal allergies? According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology more than 30% of adults and 40% of children suffer.

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The Culprit: Histamine

Our bodies naturally release histamine when fighting allergens. Histamine causes classic seasonal allergy symptoms. (This is why many drug companies market anti-histamines.) The symptoms are wheezing, sneezing, drippy nose, headaches, itchy eyes, noses,
and sometimes an itchy feeling at the top, inside of our mouths. This is called Oral Allergy  Syndrome.
"It's actually a kind of contact hive in your mouth," says Dr. Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, a pediatric allergist at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in NYC.


Dairy and the Immune System
in Overdrive...

Seasonal allergies are the result of the immune system overreacting to an airborne invader, usually in the form of pollen, dust, or something else that your system doesn't recognize. 

Dairy is a special case. Dairy products worsen allergy symptoms because they contains arachidonic acids, which increase the production of leukotrienes, which restrict the bronchial tubes, thus making it difficult for air to get through. This can cause the production of phlegm and mucus, which worsens allergy symptoms.

Dairy weakens the immune system. When the immune system is weak, it causes an overreaction to certain foods, pollen, or dust. Some dairy products contain high amounts of saturated fats, which also weaken the immune system. These include whole milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream.

Dairy contains the protein called casein. In limited quantities casein can be ok. But the high amounts found in our dairy products (it is created during the pasteurization process) is too much for our body to properly digest. Be aware that some canned tuna contains casein. This causes a "fight" response, thus the immune system goes into overdrive.

Dairy can harm your microvilli. They can have the same affect as grains. Added hormones and chemicals in commercially produced dairy can wreak  havoc on you immune system. 

Dairy tends to thicken the mucus secretions in many people. Dairy leads to sinusitis, nagging morning cough, and frequent nasal congestion. 

Verdict is unclear about Yogurt. Some sources say that the high amount of probiotics (which studies have shown strengthens the immune system) helps so that your immune system won't go into overdrive as easily. It's best to buy a brand that has live cultures in it.


What can help your allergies...

Dairy that is raw, unpasteurized, and from grass-fed cows:
This can actually treat seasonal allergy symptoms. When the antibodies in the milk aren't pasteurized out, it's like giving someone a huge jolt of great antibodies that fight infections, allergens, and strengthens the immune system.

Try these: onions, peppers, berries, capers, green leafy vegetables, and parsley all have quercetin which is a natural plant chemical that may reduce histamine reactions. Pineapple has an enzyme called  bromelain which can reduce irritation in asthma sufferers.

Omega-3 rich foods: Tuna, salmon, and mackerel (cold-water fish) have Omega-3 fatty acids. So do walnuts and flaxseed. 

Foods rich in Vitamin C: Kiwi and oranges are rich in vitamin C which can indirectly inhibit inflammatory cells from releasing histamines. But even if they do, vitamin C softens the inflammatory allergic response.

Teas that can help: Rooibos contains the bioflavonoids that are believed to block the allergy-causing histamines. Green Tea helps the sneezing, coughing and watery eyes. Licorice Root has anti-allergy effects and is known for its relief on irritated respiratory passages.

Spices that can help clear those sinuses: Anise, fennel, horseradish, and hot mustard can all act as natural decongestants. Also try oil of oregano.

Foods rich in magnesium. One study out of Brigham Young University showed that animals deficient in magnesium had higher levels of histamine in their blood when exposed to allergens than did animals with adequate magnesium levels. Magnesium is a bronchodilator and an antihistamine.


What to Stay Away From...

All pasteurized cow's milk products. Eliminate them all and t ry almond, soy, rice, hemp, or coconut milk. Also try cashew cheese and soy cheese.

Foods that have been fermented: that means beer and wine. Though there is some disagreement about this, best to consume in moderation or not at all.

Foods that are rich in histamine: Eliminate pasteurized milk, cheeses, processed deli meats, smoked fish, mushrooms, avocados, eggplant, tomatoes, sour cream, foods that contain vinegar, and dried fruits like raisins. Wine and beer belong in this list too. 

Sugar: Sugar is terrible for allergies. It decreases immune function and increases mucus.

Avoid Processed Grains: Grains are grass seeds and they will worsen your symptoms. The anti-nutrients common in processed grains such as gluten and lectin can destroy microvilli that contain enzymes helpful for digestion.


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